Although the dishes of Bengal are dominated by non vegetarian preparations who get more prominence, however, there are several veg dishes which are not only superbly tasty but also good for health as well. I remember my visits to Kolkata during summer vacations when my Grandma ( maternal ) prepared this. Even today when I am a mother of a child, she takes my hand, escorts me till the dining table and serves me this dish and many more as if I still am a little girl. Still I long to visit the house when I have a chance to go there. Sigh...
1kg Ridge gourd (Jhinge)
1 big Potato, cut into cubes and dipped in water with pinch of salt
4 tbsp Poppy seeds (posto)
2-3 Green chilly, slit
1/2 tsp Kalonji (kalo jeera)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Wash poppy seeds under running water on sieve and soak in warm water for minimum 2-3 hours for best results or atleast for 40 minutes if you are in hurry. Then in a coffee grinder, with little water and 1 green chilly, make a fine paste. This is going to take time as you have to check in between that paste is really fine. We Bengalis have Sheelnora (Grinding Stone) a solid slab and a small bolster shaped stone in our kitchen, a thing which is fast depleting in today's kitchen. Sheelnora is used for grinding spices to a fine powder/ fine paste like consistency with very little water.
Peel, cut ridge gourd in half moon shape. Heat mustard oil (mustard oil imparts a special in this Bong dish) in a heavy bottomed pan and once it reaches smoking point add green chillies, kalo jeera. Add potato and fry for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring in between. Add ridge gourd and saute for few minutes. Sprinkle turmeric, red powder and stir fry on low flame. Now add the poppy seeds paste, cover and cook.
Do sprinkle water in between to keep it moistured. Adding too much water will make it mushy, so use water sparingly. When the potatoes are cooked turn off the flame. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour 1 tsp of mustard oil on top and serve. This jhinge-posto goest well with plain rice and Biuli dal.